Belfour's Best Imitation of a Wall

The Stars were hungry for a win, after their humiliating loss to Pittsburgh. They got what they wanted. Brett Hull and Pat Verbeek came up even with two assists each, in their first game against their former teammates, as the Red Wings lost to the Dallas Stars, 5 to 3.

With defenseman Uwe Krupp out indefinitely with an injured rotator cuff, coach Scotty Bowman moved Mathieu Dandenault back to the defensive line and brought in Brent Gilchrist to play forward. Gilchrist made a defensive play which kept a loose puck from becoming a scoring opportunity for the Stars, but was unfortunately given a penalty for holding in the process. Joe Nieuwendyk was able to get the puck past Dominek Hasek off a rebound of Verbeek's shot, eight minutes into the game.

Dallas scored again just a minute and a half later. Jamie Langenbrunner shot the puck from the point, and Shaun Van Allen tipped it in behind Hasek.

The Red Wings got a power play chance with 6:09 left to play in the first, when Verbeek was sent off for interference. Between the Dallas players intercepting many of Detroit's passes, and goalie Ed Belfour holding onto any shot that came his way, the power play was shut down, and the score remained 2-0.

With just under a minute left in the first, Tomas Holmstrom was penalized for high-sticking Brad Lukowich. Because Lukowich was cut by Holmstrom's stick, the penalty was automatically a four-minute double minor, and the Red Wings carried that into the second period.

Only sixteen seconds into the period, Kris Draper was given a tripping penalty. With valiant goaltending by Hasek, and clever defensive play by Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Chelios, and Steve Yzerman, the Wings were able to kill off a full two minutes of 5-on-3 penalty.

Detroit finally got on the scoreboard with just over eight minutes in the period. Brenden Morrow had been sent to the box for tripping, and this time, the power play kept the puck in the offensive zone. Yzerman passed to Hull, who fired on Belfour. Hull picked up his own rebound and fired again, and the puck bounced off Luc Robitaille's skate and over the line, just as Robitaille was falling, and just before he knocked the net off its moorings.

Dallas managed to answer just over a minute later. During a tripping penalty to Steve Duchesne, Sergei Zubov fired the puck from the blue line. Hasek, being screened by Verbeek, was unable to see it, and the puck bounced in behind him.

With 2:25 left before the break, Holmstrom and Rob DiMaio were given offsetting penalties. Detroit would get to go to a 4-on-3 situation when Zubov was penalized for holding. Lidstrom made good on the power play, receiving a pass from Hull and one-timing a shot from the right point past Belfour.

Two and a half minutes into the third, Holmstrom was penalized for hooking, and Donald Audette was able to slide a backhand shot along the ice right past Hasek's outstretched glove and into the net. The Stars scored again with just over eight minutes to play. Hasek came far out of the net to block a shot by Audette, and Pierre Turgeon picked up the rebound and flipped it into the wide open net before anyone could stop him.

Detroit made answer only sixteen seconds later. Draper won a faceoff in the Dallas zone, and Max Kuznetsov shot the puck right past the surprised Belfour.

Three and a half minutes before the end of the game, Jyrki Lumme took a tripping penalty and gave the Wings a man advantage. Bowman pulled Hasek from the net to send in an extra skater, and then the Stars' Derian Hatcher took a penalty for cross-checking. For thirty-five seconds, the Wings would have six skaters against three.

It was not enough to get past Belfour, who made save after save to keep the Wings from scoring on him again before the game was over. Belfour and Hasek each faced forty-five shots during the game, and Robitaille and Yzerman were able to continue their scoring streaks.

The Wings begin a three-game road trip on Saturday, when they will face the Predators in Nashville.

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